Author Topic: [MTG] The Mending of Alara  (Read 32890 times)

Ultima

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2009, 04:33:16 PM »
Rafiq and Rose led their armies to an amphitheater built close to the west coast of Valeron. Rather than having a mortar arena floor, the structure was built right into the ground; the terrain was grass on one end and beach on another.

That was the only mistake I could find.

I look forward to hearing about what they do next. You have not disappointed so far. ;D ;D

When the darkness of the Abyss threatens the world, the Phoenix will rise amidst a whirlwind of fire and light.

Whisperer: Sometimes there is a very good reason to fear the dark.


RaikouRider

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2009, 03:09:57 AM »

CHAPTER 1-4: "Exile"

Music Track: World of Balance //Nobuo Uematsu
Album: Final Fantasy VI OST


The next morning, Josh and Eron left the castle, fresh from a good night's sleep courtesy of the king. "What a beautiful sunrise," Josh said, trying to get his mind off of yesterday's events.

"You look worried," Eron replied. "Why the long face? The king bailed you out, didn't he? Tell me what happened this morning."

"You tell this to no one. This stays between you and me. Got it? If this slips out, my life could be in jeopardy.

"Your secret's safe with me, Josh."

"Alright." The two jumped aboard Josh's leotau and headed southward at a good clip. It wasn't terribly fast like yesterday...this time, a quick yet relaxing pace. Once they were sufficiently far away from the castle and any towns near it, he began telling his story. "This morning, the king summoned me to his chambers. He secretly reinstated me in the Knights of the Reliquary. If anyone finds out, he'll be executed for treason, and the prince is not a capable leader in the slightest. And Asha knows what they'll do to me. It could be anywhere from an excommunication to the Topan Desert to being executed alongside him. And even if they can't get either of us on those charges...they'll find something."

"I understand. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone. I owe you one for saving me back there. So, what else did he say?"

"He's given me a mission...rather, a choice of missions. Other Knights have been reporting strange inconsistencies at the eastern end of Akrasa and the southern end of Valeron. Geographical inconsistencies. And I've been asked to investigate one of those areas. Since Valeron is my home country, I've chosen to investigate there. There's no time table for reporting back, so I'm under the assumption that he expects the mission to take some time. A fool's errand, if you ask me."

About a mile before the way station leading into Valeron, Josh saw a large amount of smoke above the tree line. "The hell's going on?!" he shouted. His mount understood the urgency of the situation, and sped forward without any physical or verbal indication to do so. Despite having such a speedy mount, it didn't feel very fast when there was clearly a fire.

Music Track: "The Empire" //Nobuo Uematsu
Album: Final Fantasy VI OST


Josh and Eron dismounted at the way station, where he usually left the feline beast before entering the wooded area. They could see residents evacuating, some on feet and some on horseback. Being a ranger, Eron knew where the stables in town were. He led Josh to the nearest one, and was able to rent a horse for faster travel.

"The clerics in there told me what was wrong," Eron started explaining as the brown beast of burden galloped toward the source of the smoke. "I was just as shocked as you were. Apparently, someone incapacitated the guards on the south side of the Sun-Dappled Court, and set the place on fire! Not with a torch or anything--fire burst from his hands, like he was casting a spell!"

"What?! That's near my house!" Josh shouted.

"That's what they said. I tried to get more out of them, but they didn't know anything else. They definitely weren't hiding anything, either."

"I've never heard of anything like that happening in my life! We've got to get there and help them!"

--------------

By the time the two of them had arrived, it was too late. The fire had been contained, but it had already taken the Court with it. Twenty of its stewards died in the blaze, with many more knights and civilians suffering from first- and second-degree burns. "Oh my god..." both said under their breath. Everything within a half-mile of the Court had suffered structural damage from the blaze, buildings closer to the Court nothing but a pile of ash and rubble. As he had feared, Josh's own house was included in that rubble. He wanted to scream, but knew it wouldn't do any good. Once the Court was outside of the containment area, the two hurried to its remains. The sacred orchards, groves, and beautifully-placed foliage had all been charred black.

Eron pointed to a pair of the Court's stewards still on site. One looked like he was about to give up the ghost, and the other was trying to save him. The ranger led Josh to them, then kneeled down, clasped his hands together, and began mumbling. A healing light shined beneath the wounded man's armor, and the burns centered around the light began to fade away. "Thank you!" the steward in good condition said to Eron.

"I just happened to be there. Now, can you tell me what exactly happened?"

"The southern guards were incapacitated by a magical fireball. It was clearly magic-fueled. The guy who cast it had no shirt on; the only clothes he had on were a pair of shorts and bands around his arms. He had long, pointy ears, as well."

"I've been all over Bant," Josh said to Eron, "and I've never seen anyone who matches that description. In all my years wandering Bant, I haven't ever seen anyone like that."

"Literally held a fireball in his hand and threw it at them," the frightened guard continued. "Then he set the garden on fire in several places. We couldn't stop him."

"Did he say where he was from, or why he was doing it?" Josh asked.

"He said he was from Etlan, and I've never heard of a city called that. I asked him where it was, and he said it was a good distance to the south of here. He said the attacks would continue if the deforestation didn't stop. But we've only cut down trees that we've needed for materials. We're Knights of Valeron; one of our jobs is to protect the forest, including the Court. But now that's gone."

"Thank you for telling us everything. You've been a great help. May the blessing of Asha be with you. Also when you get the chance, we rode horseback to get here. Could you return the poor thing to the north station in town?"

"I can do that."

"Thank you."

Music Track: "Danger Abounds" //Yasuhiro Kawasaki
Album: Illusion of Gaia OSV


Armed with new information about their attacker, Josh and Eron headed south of town and into the forest before discussing their next course of action. "This isn't making any sense," Eron sighed. "Bant hasn't seen this kind of magic in over a thousand years. Why today? And why here?"

"Could Alara have merged together...?" Josh said under his breath. "No, that's not possible. There'd have to be some reaction. We'd know. There would have been more drastic geological and geographical changes."

"What's up, Josh? Speak up, I can't hear you."

"As unbelievable as this is, the only way what happened today, as well as the unusual reports from the edges of Valeron and Akrasa, is if the five worlds of Alara reunited. As I said back at the castle, it's only a legend. But if the legend is true, then everything makes sense."

"That's ridiculous! I can cast magic, and I am familiar with the details in doing so. Even if the five worlds were right next to each other, the reunification of them would take an amount of mana I can't comprehend, and even more to make them collide quietly. I'd have felt something, and you would have, too."

"Well, according to the map of Bant, to the south of this forest is a coastline, and...wait. Eron, that guy you talked to said the assailant claimed to be a good distance south of here?"

"That is correct. From the way he spoke, the village he mentioned had to be a good twenty or more miles south of here."

"Twenty miles south of here is in the middle of the ocean, and a village cannot exist on top of the ocean. If we can believe the information we collected, then the only explanation is that the five worlds of Alara became one again. Why fate chose to reunite them now is beyond me, but it's what we've been dealt."

"I don't believe this. What do you suggest we do?"

"As I said before, the coastline is a few miles south of Valeron. We'll be able to get there relatively quickly. It's definitely not more than ten miles south of here. If we head that far south, we can confirm whether or not the worlds have merged. But I think that the burning of the Sun-Dappled Court is indisputable evidence that the five worlds became one. The only way we're going to find out is to go there."

"Alright. Lead the way."

As the two delved deeper into the forest, the concentration of burned trees grew thinner and thinner. Exactly where the forest on Josh's map ended, the trees began changing texture from a deciduous forest to what would be expected in a rainforest. The humidity slowly rose as well. Through the trees, they saw beastly shadows at least the size of leotau in the distance...but they were clearly not leotau. These were beasts they had never seen before. "Eron," Josh said quietly, "I don't think we're in Bant anymore."




A mere ten days after the Mending, a young knight of Valeron and a young ranger of Eos made a discovery that would change Alara forever.

Thanks to Spiderboy4 of High~Light Studios!

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2009, 03:31:09 PM »
The story is beginning to come together (God that was a terrible pun :D ). Fantastic stuff Raikou, keep it up.

When the darkness of the Abyss threatens the world, the Phoenix will rise amidst a whirlwind of fire and light.

Whisperer: Sometimes there is a very good reason to fear the dark.


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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #18 on: January 30, 2009, 07:25:30 PM »

CHAPTER 2-1: "Racism in Naya"

"I can't tell what that thing is from here," Eron added, "and frankly, I don't want to get any closer to it to find out." After walking in the opposite direction for a few minutes, they could see light out of the trees to the west. Upon closer approach, Josh could make out distinct buildings. "So there is civilization here," the ranger said.

"It's worth a try. If they're barbaric, we can always retreat." Once the two of them had entered the large clearing, they saw the extent of the jungle's overgrowth. The trees were taller than any he had seen in Bant, besides the ones that grew in the Sun-Dappled Court. The trees that distinctly poked out of the canopy had to be close to a hundred and fifty feet tall. The canopy was so dense that hardly any light shined through. "Fascinating..."

"What?" Eron immediately asked Josh.

"In the forests of Valeron, I've seen ruins that much resemble the structure of these buildings. If we've only been able to cross past Bant for a week or so, then the Knights of the Reliquary are going to be extremely busy for quite some time. The amount of data we can collect from this would take weeks just to sift through." He pulled out a notebook and began jotting down everything he could think to about the structures, even making rough sketches of them.

"Does it matter if you write this down? How are you going to even get back in the castle? We're not wanted there anymore."

"Even if I can't give it to him directly, I'll find a way to get my research there. Somehow. Anyway, shall we head to this town?" Eron nodded. Before they had advanced even a hundred feet, three humans wearing very little clothing and wielding spiked clubs made of bone ran toward them. Two of them wore plating made of an unknown material on one leg, and the other wore a mask with tusks from a dead animal protruding from it. All three of them wore small shields on their off-hands.

"These two aren't elves, that's for certain," one of them said aloud. This alone confused Josh and Eron, as they had never seen elves in their lives.

"They wear strange garbs," another replied. "Are they foreigners?"

"They're not nacatl; they have no fur. And their rounded ears say they're not elven." The three hunters turned toward the knight and ranger. "You look strange. Are you human?"

"Of course we're human," Josh answered them. Without a visual reply, the three hunters circled the Bantians for almost thirty seconds.

"Nope, these two are clean."

(Silence Music Track)

"What was that all about?" Eron asked.

"We haven't had foreigners in Nakai for over a thousand years."

"I've never heard of this place," Josh replied to the warrior.

Music Track: Giza Plains //Hitoshi Sakimoto
Album: Final Fantasy XII OST


"It will be easier if one of the village shamans explains. Follow me." The city of Nakai looked a lot like a castle-centered town in Valeron, except there was far more growth everywhere. Fallen vines, leaves, and even the occasional bloodthorn bush dotted the cityscape. There were no clear-cut roads, either, and very few humans rode mounts. Even the hardiest Valeronians would call Nakai a village in the middle of the wilderness.

After several twists and turns, the warrior directed them to the house of one of the shamans. "Here you are." he said. The overgrowth covering the city was present even inside homes.

"Good day, foreigners," a blonde-haired female greeted them. She was equipped similarly to the hunter, but carried no weapon. Scars from bloodthorn vines covered her left leg. There were presumably similar scars on her other leg, but her armor covered them. "I am Aisha, shaman of Nakai. Introduce yourselves."

Josh stepped forward. "I am Josh, a Knight of the Reliquary, and I come from Bant--Valeron to be precise. My friend is Eron, a Ranger of Eos, also from Bant." He paused for a few seconds, trying to figure out what to ask first. "...Where exactly are we?"

"...I suppose that's a good question to ask, given that you are foreigners. You're in the village of Nakai, in Naya. We're one of only six permanent human settlements in all of Naya. As you've seen, the place is so overgrown that you see seeds sprout, then wither and die because they can't get enough sunlight to survive. We constantly receive criticism from elves about clearing places out just so we can have a permanent place to love. They look like us, except they're shorter and more pointy-eared."

Josh gasped after he put the pieces together. "Eron, this means that a Nayan elf was behind the attacks on the Sun-Dappeled Court this morning!"

"Your village was also attacked?" Aisha frowned. "I'm sorry that you two have also become victims of their madness. You deserve to hear the full story. A long time ago, the races of Naya claimed their territories. The elves claimed the canopy. Since every highway on Naya goes through there, they also possess the easiest way to get around. The nacatl, the cat-people, claimed the mountains. That left us with the trecherous jungle floors, constantly humid and in danger of being crushed by the Gargantuans."

"Gargantuans?" Eron asked.

"They're huge beasts that roam Naya, and they range from big to colossal in size. And they're strong enough to uproot trees. The elves worship them like gods and treat them like they're forces of nature. We, on the other hand, seek to use them to better society. And the ones we can't use, we hunt for game and sport. That is the purpose of the Drumhunters, like the ones who brought you here."

"On our way here, we saw a shadow of a creature that was about ten feet tall. Since we didn't know what it was, we decided it was better to avoid the thing."

"That was probably a thoctar. They're pretty wild, but they're the smallest of the Gargantuans. They're tusked beasts with hard bone masks protecting their faces. They're nearly impenetrable from the front, but have weak spots on their sides and backs. The bigger varieties can poke through shorter canopies. We're talking in the neighborhood of thirty feet or taller." Josh's mouth was wide open in awe, as was Eron's. Their definition of huge was a typical grohm leotau. "Generally, Gargantuans aren't at all aggressive, and give you plenty of advance warning when they're coming. About thirty years ago, our village was crushed by a Gargantuan, and we had to rebuild. For this reason, a lot of humans around here are nomadic."

"Sounds like life is a living hell for you guys," Josh sighed.

"Not really," Aisha smiled. "There's always the matca matches, and just game hunting in general. On the west side of town is our matca arena. If you want to know more about it, I can take you to the arena. There's supposed to be a few matches today."

"Actually, we're more interested in why the elves are torching human settlements. Could you explain?"

"Some clearings are created by dewcups--small lakes created by convex patterns in the jungle canopy. They dot Naya, and they're our main water sources. But the clearing Nakai sits on was artificially created a hundred years ago. The elves call it deforestation, and punish human settlements by sending firestokers to do 'demonstrations.' What they really do is set chosen settlements on fire as a warning to others that if the deforestation does not cease, their village could be next."

"So, the Sun-Dappeled Court was mistaken for a Nayan settlement," Josh concluded. "You've told us what's happening, but not why."

"I'm getting to that. The attacks had nearly ceased, but they've increased for no reason within the last week. We have only cut down the trees we've needed for lumber supplies. Furthermore, we plant new trees to replace the ones we cut down. Nature does a better job of that than we do, but it's mainly to appease the elves...to show them that we're cleaning up after ourselves. The reasoning behind their recent attacks is there's been rot and decay in the southern half of Naya, which is mainly elvish territory. They blame it on us cutting down trees, but it has nothing to do with that. Some force we haven't seen the likes of in hundreds of years is impacting the climate in an adverse way, and it's syphoning the nutrients the forest needs to stay alive. We've seen a few effects of it around here, but they have it much worse. We've sent scouts to investigate, and the elves do have it pretty bad."

"Where do the nacatl side on the issue?" Eron asked.

"They're not terribly affected by it, and we haven't heard any of them talk about the issue. So I'd say they're neutral about it."

"Is there anything we can do to help you with this? I don't want to see any more people suffer from these unsolicited attacks!"

"We've sent a few scouts along various leads, but we haven't found anything yet. However, we did get a strong lead yesterday. To the south of here is a large dewcup. Right next to it is a shrine that humans and elves built long ago, dedicated to the gods as thanks for the water source. A druid has made the shrine his home, and he foresaw this problem a week before it started. He'll know more than I do about the issue. Normally you could just take the lianas to get to the shrine without danger, but since they're under control of the elves, they won't appreciate humans up there. You'll have to take the long way."

"Thank you. We'll report back next time we're in the area."

--------------

Music Track: "Danger Abounds" //Yasuhiro Kawasaki
Album: Illusion of Gaia OSV


About four that afternoon, the knight and ranger left town. "Look for rays of light to the south," Josh told Eron. "Those are where the dewcups lie."

"Right." Along the way, they had to fend off attacks from various small animals, and even a small predatory cat. With their armor protecting them, they weren't a big deal. Once the dewcup came into sight, though, Eron sighted a pair of large, red eyes to the east. By the time he could warn his friend, though, the silhouette they belonged to started getting larger, until it wasn't a silhouette anymore. The beast fit Aisha's description of a thoctar perfectly.

Music Track: "Battle Theme" //Nobuo Uematsu
Album: Final Fantasy VI OSV


"Fight or run," Eron said, "we better decide fast!" The ranger readied an arrow as both of them slowly backed away from their foe. The shot he fired just missed the beast's right eye, but it was enough to stun it. This gave them ample opportunity to get a head start in fleeing. Once it had regained its senses, the Gargantuan began closing the gap quickly. After a few hundred feet, Josh peeked back to see it was right behind them. Though the armor he wore protected him well from frontal attacks, he was entirely vulnerable to back attacks. The thoctar threw both of them high into the air, landing with a loud thud.

(Silence Music Track)

"Stop!" the voice of a young girl echoed through the jungle. Eron painfully tilted his head up to see the source of the voice: an elvish girl dressed entirely in green. Miraculously, the ferocious beast held off goring them a second time.

"You're...an elf," Josh groaned. "Why...save us?"

She clasped her hands together, as if she was praying. "Fill this creature with vim and vigor! Nourish!" she recited with her eyes closed. A dim green light surrounded Josh, and his wounds stopped bleeding. She repeated the spell with Eron. By the time she was done casting, the injuries began closing at a visible rate.

Revitalized, the knight and ranger stretched on the ground before standing up again. Though the girl did heal their injuries, it didn't nullify the pain completely. "Why did you save us?" Eron asked. "Don't you hate humans for what they've done to the forest?"

"We're near the Shrine of the Silvertear Dewcup. It's getting late, and it would be best to rest inside there to avoid the Whitecover. I'll explain everything there."




« Last Edit: January 30, 2009, 07:33:35 PM by RaikouRider »
A mere ten days after the Mending, a young knight of Valeron and a young ranger of Eos made a discovery that would change Alara forever.

Thanks to Spiderboy4 of High~Light Studios!

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #19 on: January 30, 2009, 07:53:40 PM »
More complications then. Very well don on this chapter. Loved it.

The beast fitted Aisha's description of a thoctar perfectly.

The only mistake I could find.

When the darkness of the Abyss threatens the world, the Phoenix will rise amidst a whirlwind of fire and light.

Whisperer: Sometimes there is a very good reason to fear the dark.


RaikouRider

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2009, 10:25:03 PM »

CHAPTER 2-2: "Godtoucher Shalin"

The interior of the stone shrine was dimly lit by a few magic-fueled torches. At its center was a statue of a Gargantuan--and from the size of the human figure used to indicate scale, it was a colossal one. "These kinds of shrines, dedicated to the Gargantuans and Progenitus himself, are all over Naya," the elvish girl began explaining.

"Before we go any farther into the matter," Eron interrupted, "I want to at least know your name."

Music Track: Illusionary World //Nobuo Uematsu
Album: Final Fantasy IV OST


"My name is Shalin, and I am a godtoucher of Etlan."

"That idiot who burned the Sun-Dappled Court this morning claimed to be from Etlan!" Josh exclaimed.

"Who are you two anyway?" Shalin asked. "You're definitely not from here."

"How rude of me to ask for your name and not tell my own," Eron sighed. "I'm Eron, a ranger of Eos, from Bant. This is Josh. He is a Knight of the Reliquary, from Valeron. He is also from Bant."

"Eron and Josh, it is nice to meet you both." As the sun set beneath the canopy, a thick fog materialized outside the shrine. Josh stood just outside the shrine and outstretched his hand, gasping when he could not see the end of it. "This is the Whitecover, and this is the reason why traveling at night is so dangerous. You're lucky to be able to see five feet in front of you."

"I've never seen fog this thick in my life," Eron replied. "Is this typical?"

"Happens every night, and with the lianas under elvish control, it makes traveling very difficult and treacherous for humans."

"You said you were from Etlan. Do you know why your people are attacking human villages?" Josh asked.

"It's a bit of a long story."

"We can't go anywhere until sunrise, Shalin. We have time."

"Where do I even start," she sighed. "Humans and elves haven't gotten along ever since the humans began the use of Gargantuans for what they call an 'agricultural revolution.' They've been cutting down trees to clear out large areas, so they can build large cities. The only worthwhile benefit is the matca stadiums. Rather than build around the forest like they used to do, they've cut down acres and acres of trees. Since we can't take axes to their cities, we can bury them in fireballs instead. The firestokers were originally supposed to dance with the Gargantuans, and they put on quite the show. But instead of creating beauty, they now create destruction."

"Lumber is an integral material in construction of buildings. We can't just stop cutting down trees. We just need to be careful with where we harvest our lumber from."

"The elves do not understand humans' need for permanent structures, and thus, think that they are harming the forest. The attacks didn't really escalate until a week or so ago, however. Most of the elves live in the southern half of Naya, and down there, plants are wilting and dying for no apparent reason. I know why it's happening, but the others are too ignorant to put two and two together. It's concentrated on the southeast end of the forest, and it's depressing. Entire trees have turned black with rot. The elves blame it on deforestation, but there's an underlying cause."

"What is the cause of the rot?"

"It is a fell creature--exactly what it looks like and what its capabilities are remain unknown. Etlan and other villages have sent scouts out. The few that have returned did so with festering skin, and nothing on all of Naya has that kind of power."

"Even further evidence that Alara's five worlds have become one again. As I believe I said before, one of your village's firestokers set an important landmark in Valeron ablaze. Bant hadn't seen that kind of magic in over a thousand years. You see, it used to be that Bant, as well as Naya, were part of one world called Alara. Over a thousand years ago, for some unknown reason, the world split into five. And just recently, that world came back together. It's the only way we were able to come here."

"That is very interesting. I've heard very similar words from the Godspeaker of this very shrine." The godtoucher paused to ponder this.

"If this is anything like what happened to the Sun-Dappled Court," Eron inferred, "then this creature is from another world. Given your people wouldn't have seen disease like this, it's little wonder no one's slain it yet."

"My thoughts exactly," Shalin continued. "I believe we can slay this beast if the three of us combine our powers. There's only one problem. The source of the rot is beneath the Sacellum. It's a shrine like this one, only much more grand. Unfortunately, it's deep in elvish territory, and I'm no longer welcome there. I remember exactly where it is, but it's so far behind enemy lines that just getting there is going to be a struggle. Even if we defeat the monster, getting back out could be difficult as well."

"But if the rot of the forest stops, won't the elves accept you again?"

"It's going to take time for anyone not deeply connected to the Anima to notice any change. Since I've always taken the lianas to get everywhere in southern Naya, I will be in unknown territory as well. I know exactly which direction the Sacellum is in, but I've never gone this way to get there. We'll need to look out for more than just wildlife, though. I'm sure that elves will come out of the canopy to take us down. If they don't come down, they'll at least start shooting at us. If worse comes to worst, we can ride to the Sacellum."

"On what?" Josh asked. "I had to leave my leotau in Bant--"

"I'm a Godtoucher. It's my job to aid Gargantuans and other beasts in need. They often return the favor by joining my cause."

"That's very similar to what Bantian rangers like myself do," Eron chimed in. "We tame animals and use them for all sorts of purposes. Of course, it was never anything horribly dangerous."

"That's another reason my people don't like me; as I told you, elves revere the Gargantuans as if they were gods. Because I have been able to subdue one, they call me a blasphemer and a radical. It's been a bit of a rough life for the last week, but I think it'll be easier on me if we travel together. We have nothing to lose. What do you guys say?" Both nodded their heads in agreement. "Good. We leave for the Sacellum at daybreak."

--------------

Music Track: "Danger Abounds" //Yasuhiro Kawasaki
Album: Illusion of Gaia OSV


With the morning sunrise, the Whitecover faded away, and travel was once again possible on the Nayan jungle floor. The three refreshed, they left the Silvertear Dewcup, heading south. For the first few miles, it wasn't too bad; typical rainforest creatures popped out of the dense foliage from time to time. A few of them attacked, but the ones that did were easily dispatched by sword and bow. The stomps of Gargantuans echoed every so often. When they could see shadows, Shalin adjusted her course slightly to avoid being in a losing battle.

Unfortunately, that took them right across the path of a scarlet wasp, which charged Eron almost immediately. The deep red insect was so big that its needle-like stinger punctured completely through the screaming ranger's hand. "Passion's flame, ignite! Firebolt!" Shalin cried as the wasp pulled itself out of its victim's bleeding hand. A fireball formed in her right hand, and she threw it at the flying menace. Direct hit! Its wings singed and its body on fire, the foe collapsed. The flames ate away at its body, eventually revealing a charred insect corpse.

The blow dropped Eron to his knees. Josh ran toward his injured comrade and began casting a spell to heal his wounds. The wound began closing, but instead of his partner standing up, he collapsed face-first. "Eron! Talk to me!"

"I thought humans were immune to scarlet wasp poison," Shalin said, perplexed. "He's showing signs of fever and has collapsed." She knelt down next to Eron as well, and tried casting a healing spell of her own. When she was finished, the ranger turned over onto his back. Josh breathed a sigh of relief when he opened his eyes and groaned.

"You alright?" Josh asked, wiping blood off both sides of his friend's left hand.

"Not really. It still hurts like hell," Eron winced.

"Scarlet wasps are some of the most venomous creatures on Naya, capable of killing small and medium-sized animals with a single poisonous sting. Most humans around here have developed an immunity to the poison. He'll make it, but he'll feel heavy-headed for a while. If we didn't get to him so quickly, he probably wouldn't have made it. Eron, just take it easy for a while. If you're feeling too weak to continue, we'll stop to rest. Just let us know."

"Don't worry about me," the injured ranger replied. "If you're that worried...just...cover for me."

"Alright, I trust you."

--------------

Late that afternoon, Shalin pointed out an elvish liana that reached very close to the jungle floor. "What's so significant about this?" Josh asked.

"This is a checkpoint," Shalin answered. Once we go past here, we'll be behind enemy lines. You sure you don't want to rest here, Eron?"

"I'm sure. I'll make it."

"I hope, for your sake, you're not covering up. If you collapse, it's going to put all of us in hot water."

"I understand that. But I'm fine."

Watchful for snipers, the three of them tread carefully forward. The farther they advanced, the more profound the distinct smell of rotting woodlands became. Even one of the lianas nearby had collapsed. Seconds after passing the fallen highway, Shalin picked up on the sound of hissing arrows as well as muffled voices from the treetops. "Run!" she shouted to her comrades. She readied fireballs in both hands, ready to toss them into the trees once she saw where the arrows were coming from.

"Get them!" one of the elves shouted. "We must bring the girl in alive!" Farther up the road were firestokers. How they were able to amass a force so quickly, Shalin had no idea. Before long, it was raining flames out of the trees. Eron rolled out of the way of one fireball while Josh hopped backward to dodge another. The humidity in the air accelerated the creation of fog.

"Shalin, their attacks are causing fog to form," Josh said. "Form two more fireballs, but don't throw them!" The closer they got to the Sacellum, the lower the fog descended. A couple of arrows bounced off Josh's helmet, but the remainder of the shots became more and more haphazard the lower the sun got in the sky.

"Quick thinking, Josh," Eron sighed, panting.

"There it is," Shalin pointed to the southwest, through the thickening fog. "I know this area well, so follow directly behind me. We'll have to travel through the Whitecover for a short period of time before we get inside." Eron and Josh walked behind Shalin, following her step for step. Though they were getting closer to the shrine, making it out became harder and harder with the fog setting in even more. About 400 feet away, the shadow of the temple disappeared into the Whitecover completely. The Bantians were frightened, unable to see anything. Worse yet, it started raining hard, putting Shalin's light source out.

It took them another couple minutes of wandering through the fog before Shalin found the Sacellum. Visibility had been reduced to less than twenty feet. Everyone, including Shalin herself, breathed a sigh of relief when they arrived. Once their eyes adjusted to the lack of fog, Shalin gasped. "Syeena! Not you, too!"

Music Track: Despair //Dennis Martin
Album: The Legend of Dragoon OST


Josh pressed his first two fingers against the elvish girl's wrist. "She's dead. And her arms are both black."

"This is what's been happening here," Shalin sobbed. "It's been happening to trees, plants, and even people. "But why her... Why did it have to take her?!"

"Was she your--"

"Leave her alone," Josh interrupted Eron. "She needs time. We'll ask about this elf when she's gotten over it. How is your hand feeling?" he abruptly changed the subject.

"It still hurts, but I've gotten used to it a little. At least it stopped bleeding a while ago."

"How about we get some rest here? If this monster is deep underneath this place, we're going to have to travel in completely unknown territory for quite a while to even get to it. Plus, it would be a wise idea to fight at full strength. You said you were dizzy after you got stung. Let's rest up. It's not like we can travel anywhere with the Whitecover set in."

"I miss the beds at the castle in Eos," the Bantian ranger chuckled.




A mere ten days after the Mending, a young knight of Valeron and a young ranger of Eos made a discovery that would change Alara forever.

Thanks to Spiderboy4 of High~Light Studios!

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2009, 12:05:35 AM »
The usual awesomeness. ;D I can't find anything wrong with it. Keep up the amazing work.

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2009, 12:06:04 AM »
I thought this deserved to be a stickied topic ;D


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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #23 on: February 05, 2009, 07:54:40 AM »

CHAPTER 2-3: What Goes Bump Underground

"Feeling any better?" Eron asked as the Whitecover finally rose back above the treetops.

"Yes, I am," she answered. "And I feel like I owe you an explanation about last night."

"I'm listening." Josh nodded to indicate he was doing the same.

"Syeena was a godtoucher a lot like me. She understood what was happening beneath Naya's surface just as well as, if not better, than, I do. She just didn't have the courage to tell the elvish hierarchs the truth. They would deem her a radical, and she would be in the same position I am now with the elves: a fugitive. Because she knew so much, as well as how close she was to the Gargantuans, they assigned her to guard the Sacellum while the Anima was away."

"The Anima?" Josh asked.

"Chosen from among the most faithful to Progenitus, the Soul of the World, Mayael is the most powerful elf in all of Naya. She is the only elf capable of direct communication with Progenitus. I don't want to get into detail about Progenitus, as it would be way over your heads. She can command every kind of Gargantuan in Naya."

"You can't? You stopped that thoctar from running us over!"

"I have a few powers, but it's nothing next to her. Anyway, Syeena was assigned to guard the Sacellum while the Anima was in the Valley of the Ancients. Only a few elves know this, but the Sacellum is part of a temple built almost a thousand years ago. It was dedicated to Gargantuan worship, but was buried in a landslide. Buried being the key word. With a little work, they turned this place into a secret path for the Anima to get down to the Valley of the Ancients in case the main road was blocked due to natural disaster."

"Wow," Eron half-gasped. "What a contingency plan."

"You said the Sacellum was buried, not destroyed, right?" Josh inquired.

"Right," Shalin answered.

"So there must be a secret passage."

"In fact, there is." Shalin climbed up to the stage where a Gargantuan statue rested. She pulled the statue's right arm out about halfway, and a large panel on the floor moved, revealing stairs leading downward. Once she let go of the arm, the secret entrance began closing slowly. Waving her friends on, the three of them descended the winding staircase. The room was dimly lit, again, by magically-fueled torches.

Music Track: Light World Dungeon //Koji Kondo
Album: Zelda: A Link to the Past OST


After the staircase circled around for 270 degrees, the party gasped, seeing more dead bodies in similar condition to Syeena's. This time, dried blood was spattered all over the outer wall close to where the blackened bodies were. "This doesn't look recent," Eron noted. "Keep your eyes peeled--I doubt this fiend causing all the rot is the only thing down here." After turning another corner, the three saw the true nature of the Sacellum: the place was a buried tower overgrown with vines and all sorts of exotic plants. The hazardous bloodthorn bushes grew here, as well. If they didn't keep their eyes open for the violet, spiked plants, things would become very problematic.

Josh slashed his way through the vines blocking the north wall, revealing a staircase leading down. On the second basement level, the first thing to catch his eye was structural damage preventing their passage to the west exit. "Shalin, have you ever been down here before?" the knight asked.

"No. I just know that it goes down to--"

"Shalin, look out!" Eron shot an arrow that grazed the godtoucher's head--right into the web of a four-foot-tall spider using it like a swinging rope to ambush her. She turned around to see the monstrosity, and threw a pair of fireballs at its face. Shrugging the pain off, it skittered up the debris and fired a web to the ceiling.

"I can't reach it from here!" Josh exclaimed. Shalin knelt down, and her hands began glowing; one red and one green. Her eyes were closed, and she appeared to be mumbling in a language neither of them could understand.

"Fill the skies with rage! Branching Bolt!" Shalin cried, standing up quickly after finishing the incantation. A green bolt of electricity fried the web, and a red bolt fried the creature itself, causing it to tumble out of the sky and land on its hard shell. Josh took the opportunity to climb onto it and plunge his sword into its soft underside several times. Once he made sure the thing was dead, he wiped his blade clean of its internal juices.

Shalin pointed out an exit to the south. Once they had walked over to the passage, Josh peeked around the corner. "Clear!" he shouted. Turning the corner, the three headed west through the empty room. "Shalin, do you have any idea what the purpose of this place was?"

"I saw fragments of a statue in the rubble. Looked like a Gargantuan. I'm guessing that this was a place of worship before the place got buried. I can't see any other use for this place." They turned another corner, leading back to the chamber they were just in...only on the other side of the rubble. On their left was another staircase leading down.

The chamber they were in was huge. Inside it were six life-size statues of various Gargantuans, four of which were still fully intact. Below them was a series of winding catwalks, cutting into passages that led to various side rooms. It was dizzying to look at all the paths crossing above and below each other. "Who would be deranged enough to design a place of worship this confusing to get around?" Eron asked. "This is worse than the Seaside Palace in Bant!"

"I can't tell you," Shalin replied. "But I see how we could get down to the bottom of this chamber...if only the structure didn't collapse over there." The top level of the three-story main hub branched out four ways, connected by a ring in the center. Another path stretched underneath the ring. However, structural collapses in two sections made it impossible to reach the southwest path directly. Instead, they opted for the northwest path.

Josh quietly walked up to the doorway and peeked around. From where he stood, he couldn't see anything, nor was there another passageway in plain sight. "Clear!" he shouted again. No less than ten feet into the chamber, a lion leaped from behind a shadowy corner, tackling Josh and trying to find the chinks in his armor. Eron put several arrows into its side, stunning it long enough for it to release its hold on Josh. He drew his sword, and Eron readied another shot when the feline arose. Despite its left side bleeding, it wanted to fight. Shalin merely stood in front of the doorway, chanting. Her hands glowed white.

Enraged, the beast flung itself at the archer, sending Eron flying into the east wall of the dimly lit chamber. Just as it was about to claw into him, Shalin's voice filled the air. "Calm your anger and fight for the good of Alara! Evangelize!" A flash brightened the room, and the wild cat stood there, confused.

"What the hell...was that?" Eron gasped, groaning. Josh tended to his friend's wounds as quickly as he could, shaken up himself from the attack.

Shalin began carefully pulling the three arrows out of the lion's side. "Just a second." Once she pulled the last shot out, she healed its wounds with the same green, nourishing light that healed her two friends before. "It's a spell every godtoucher learns when she comes of age. If a wild creature is weak, we can subdue it, and it will listen to that person. It takes a bit of time to cast, so it's difficult to tame very aggressive creatures." With another spell, she projected the image of Naya's jungle floor on the northeast wall, and the partially recovered beast walked through it.

"Wow," Eron said in awe; he was still in pain, but it was more of an annoyance than a true handicap. "I've never heard of any ranger in all of Bant being able to do something like that. That's an incredible talent I wish I had."

"And to summon them again, all I have to do is project an image of their natural habitat on any solid vertical surface, and they'll come out to help me. That's what I did with the thoctar, and I have a couple other creatures as well. I just don't use them unless I have to."

"I discovered that the ones I had tamed were of no use outside Bant, since I can't project images with my mana like you can."

"It's not hard to learn; I'll teach you how to do it."

"Thanks so much, Shalin! I look forward to it. I feel--"

"Will you two quit chit-chatting?!" Josh interrupted them. "While you two were doing nothing, I checked this room, and there's no secret passageway in here. Let's check the other path.

"You're such a party pooper, Josh," Eron joked.

"There will be time for fun and games...after we finish our job here." The southeast exit was blocked by a thick array of vines, but they posed no problem for Josh's blade. This chamber was similar to the last one, but the floor curved downward slowly, taking them to the middle level of the hub. The catwalks were even more confusing here, with several of them going over and under each other. On the south side of the chamber, the statues were more clearly recognizable. In the backs of their minds, they prayed they would never run into these behemoths--even one would be a handful to take down.

Halfway across the room, the path forked to an entrance on the west side and on the north side. After taking the west path, the adventurers quickly discovered both paths led to the same room. Another structural collapse made it impossible to head eastward, which, from the way the catwalks branched, was the correct path. They had no choice but to descend the stairs to the bottom level. Once they had reached the statues' bases, they discovered that navigating the place would be no easy task. All the collapsed statue parts had collected in the most inconvenient of places, concentrated in the center of the room. Furthermore, the ground was infested with green, gelatinous life forms Shalin had never seen the likes of before. Their slimy, translucent bodies held parts of various animals and plants being digested. "Yuck!" Shalin cried. "What is that thing?!"

Josh tried slashing at one of the amorphous fiends, but his blade harmlessly slid on top of it. "Swords don't work!" he said as he backed out of the way to avoid a counterattack.

Eron fired an arrow right through the center of the slime, but it didn't even flinch. "Weapons won't work on it at all," he groaned. "Magic is the only thing that's going to work on them. Shalin, we're going to have to rely on you."

"Mana isn't infinite, Eron," Shalin replied. "Since you know a few spells yourself, I'm sure you're aware. There's a limit to how many spells you can cast without resting somewhere."

"She has a point," Josh agreed. "Hold a fireball or two, and only kill the ones in our way. We run from the rest of them. As every knight in Bant knows, courage doesn't always mean fighting every battle you see. You have to know when to fight and when to flee. And I say this is a time appropriate for fleeing." Shalin did as Josh asked, then the three weaved around the six huge statues and debris, avoiding the poisonous goo as best they could. They hugged the outside wall, running counterclockwise to avoid the biggest concentrations of rubble. Two of the oozes stood in front of the east staircase leading back up, and Shalin fired her shots at both of them. All three dove toward the center of the chamber to avoid being splattered by poisonous goop from the resulting explosion.

Once the dust had cleared, Josh led the way up the stairs. They found themselves on the other side of the rubble that blocked their path before. The only way out of that room led them back to the main hub, taking them over another winding catwalk. They crossed below the path they took upon first entering the middle level, and wound up in a chamber that mirrored the one on the above pathway--the ramping floor leading up included.

"All that way just to get on the other side of the collapse?" Eron complained, seeing where he was on the top level of the statue room. "Seriously, whoever designed this place needs to take an arrow to the forehead."

"At least we can move forward now," Shalin sighed, now on the west side of the top level. There weren't stairs, but the path stretched the entire diameter of the huge room, leading down two levels. It curved back about eight feet above the slime room, leading to yet another stairwell on the north end.

"This isn't the bottom level?" Eron asked Shalin. "It doesn't make sense to haul the materials needed to build something like this all the way upstairs."

"I've said it multiple times," she answered again, "this was built hundreds of years ago. Who knows what their logic was?" After going all the way down the staircase, she begun smiling. "It's getting brighter...is there light down there?"

"It's definitely not your eyes," Josh added as they walked through a long hallway. "It's definitely getting brighter."

"Where's this monster that was supposed to be in here?" Shalin asked as they stepped out of the hallway and into a large, empty chamber. It was about half the size of the statue chamber, but still very large. "If there's light, this should be the bottom level." Just as Josh stepped into the rounded chamber, a large, stone door fell behind them. A second one fell on the south side seconds later, the only light in the chamber being from the same kind of torches as before. The sound of a giant beast breathing filled the room. When they turned to the west side, they saw it. It was clearly a Gargantuan, but of a variety unknown to Shalin.

"I think you spoke too soon," the knight said, then drew his weapon.




« Last Edit: February 05, 2009, 07:58:36 AM by RaikouRider »
A mere ten days after the Mending, a young knight of Valeron and a young ranger of Eos made a discovery that would change Alara forever.

Thanks to Spiderboy4 of High~Light Studios!

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #24 on: February 05, 2009, 11:22:03 AM »
Argh! That's a mean cliffhanger! :D Nice job Raikou.

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Whisperer: Sometimes there is a very good reason to fear the dark.


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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #25 on: February 08, 2009, 07:27:58 PM »

CHAPTER 2-4: No Appreciation

Music Track: Boss Battle //Hitoshi Sakimoto
Album: Final Fantasy XII OST


The gigantic beast stood just over ten feet tall, its head nearly brushing the ceiling of the empty, circular room. Its large claws made Shalin think of the Rakeclaw, a Gargantuan prominent across the western half of Naya. The major difference between the beast she knew and this one was its normally red skin was festering and turning black. Unlike anything else that had been infected, though, this creature wasn't dying to the disease anytime soon. "So, what's the game plan?" Josh asked, the creature ever-so-slowly approaching the three of them.

"Go right in and start hacking away," Eron answered. "I'll cover you." Once Josh charged at the beast, Eron dropped to his knees and folded his hands. "Safeguard us from the malicious and spiteful! Hindering Light!" A beam of yellow light illuminated the area in front of Josh, then expanded to surround his body, covering him in a magical, translucent shield. The knight fearlessly charged toward the stomping Gargantuan, slashing at its legs and as far up its lower body as he could reach. His sword pierced its skin, but only barely. This thing was tough.

The disgusting-looking creature swiped its claws in retaliation, knocking Josh back, but the shield Eron created caused the attacker to be hit with some of its own power. "I'll help, too!" Shalin cried, dropping to her knees and folding her hands as well. "Unleash your inner fury! Berserk!" Underneath Josh's armor, his muscles bulged, and he lost control of his emotions. His thoughts were to kill the foe in front of him, and nothing more. He sliced everything around him like a maniac, not even knowing if he was hitting or missing. He couldn't even feel the small tremors made by the foe's footsteps.

Josh skillfully dodged the beast's stomps and claw swipes, his fury increasing his reaction time. It made a swift turnaround and swiped its tail, sending the armored man flying into the west wall. Amazingly, he shrugged the blow off, standing up within seconds. Eron fired arrow after arrow from the east end of the circular room, but they seemed to just bounce off. The berserk swordsman jump-slashed at one of the Gargantuan's bleeding legs, then rolled out of the way before it collapsed. However, it was far from dead. Its claws glowed red for a few seconds, then columns of flame briefly erupted around Josh, Shalin, and Eron. The Knight of the Reliquary found himself on his knees, his stamina drained.

"Josh, get out of there!" Shalin cried.

"The thing's almost dead!" Eron replied as the tired warrior stumbled out of the way of his foe's gigantic feet. "Can't you cast Berserk again?"

"Not enough mana!" she replied. "I told you it isn't infinite!"

Eron sighed. "You just stay out of its way, and we'll take care of it from here!" Though the festering creature was far less mobile than before, it was still dangerous. The ranger aimed for the Gargantuan's bleeding wounds, but barely missed with four shots. Josh was still breathing heavily, trying to muster the energy to charge again. The corrupted Rakeclaw belched a dense, black cloud, engulfing the southern third of the chamber in toxic smoke. The three covered their mouths to avoid inhaling any more of it than necessary. Moments after they migrated to the north end, Shalin collapsed, choking from the poison.

"Shalin!" Josh cried. "O Healing Power, soothe this wounded soul! Life Burst!" The burns that the monster had left on her skin started to disappear, but she was still coughing. "Eron, watch yourself, and keep firing!" The arrows continued to fly toward their foe, and it let out a deep roar of pain as he finally landed one inside one of the wounds from his friend's sword. The ranger rolled out of the way of a tail swipe, then landed a second successful blow. Large amounts of the center of the room were covered in dark red blood. A few minutes later, the creature breathed its last.


Music Track: Victory Theme //Hitoshi Sakimoto
Album: Final Fantasy XII OST



Eron raised his bow in triumph while Josh continued to assist Shalin. At least the godtoucher was coughing less frequently. "We beat it, guys!" The two stone doors that fell when Shalin entered reopened themselves, and a translucent spirit of an elf appeared in front of the dead titan. Once she noticed that she wasn't choking on the fumes that vented out of the chamber anymore, she bowed to the spirit, which looked like a female elf covered in rich, green leaf clothing from top to bottom.


Music Track: Seeking Power //Hitoshi Sakimoto
Album: Final Fantasy XII OST



"Thank you for saving the forest of Naya from the calamity caused by the Mending," she began.

"The Anima?" Shalin gasped. "Where are you?" The others felt refreshed as well.

"Now is not the time. It isn't just Naya; the entire world is suffering from calamities caused by the Mending. The vile creatures causing the decay of the forest emerged from a land to the east of the last Nacatl fortress, Qasal. In order to stop this event from repeating itself, you must head past there. There used to be nothing past the mountains, but the Mending has caused them to merge with a land where survival of the fittest is the law of the land. Go back up through the Sacellum and head east. I wish you luck."

"Where are you?" Shalin asked again as the spirit faded away. "She's gone..."

"At least we're not completely clueless," Eron pointed out.

--------------


Music Track: "Danger Abounds" //Yasuhiro Kawasaki
Album: Illusion of Gaia OSV



"Well, going back up was certainly much easier," Josh laughed as they stepped back into the Nayan wilds.

"Remember, we're still fugitives out here," Shalin reminded him. "We need to head east as quickly as possible, without being seen." With one eye to the sky, she led the group toward the Cloud Mountain Range. Staying directly under the elvish highways when possible ensured they stayed out of sight. Once they crossed onto the mountain path, the sound of hissing arrows filled the air again. "Run!"

Shalin's group picked up the pace up the path, but there was no place to hide. Josh ran alongside the godtoucher, shielding her from the hail of arrows. At least the path wasn't terribly winding like paths to the north. Once they had passed over a crag, Eron breathed a sigh of relief. That relief was short-lived when they saw more of their pursuers following them from the Qasali liana. "Cover for me!" Shalin exclaimed. Eron and Josh surrounded her as she faced the wall of a cliff to the east. Their cover didn't do much against the elvish druids and shamans in the back, Shalin's guardians grunting as various offensive spells grazed their skin.

"Surrender the girl!" the elvish commander demanded. "If you cooperate, we will spare your lives. Resist, and we will take her by force."

"How can you say that when the forest was dying, and she eradicated the source of the rot?" Josh argued.

"She is a blasphemer; rather than worship Progenitus' creations, the Gargantuans, she manipulates them for her own benefit. Just like you humans who have no respect for them. You put them in harnesses, deforesting large areas for unnecessarily large food harvests. Rather than respect them for the manifests of Progenitus that they are, you defile them by using them as work beasts. Now, my patience is running thin. The girl, now!"

"She saved all of you from an impending catastrophe, and this is how you repay her? No!"

"Then we're taking her. Get them! The girl must be taken in alive!" Just as the armed warriors began their charge, Shalin projected the image of a small clearing in the jungle, and the same thoctar that assaulted Josh and Eron a few days past began a full-on charge of its own, trampling and knocking their pursuers around like bowling pins.

The beast ran back toward Shalin, its tusks and claws soaked in blood. Shalin pulled herself on top of its thick tail, then scurried up to its back. "Climb on, guys! Quickly!" Arrows bounced off the Gargantuan's tusks and forehead as the summoner fended off her pursuers the best she could with an array of fireballs. Once the beast took off again, there was no hope for them. Try as they might, these behemoths were respected for a reason.

"Yikes!" Eron shouted, putting his bow away. "And I thought Josh's leotau was hard to hold onto!"

"It's bigger, for one," Josh replied while being bounced higher than he was used to, "and there's no saddle on it. That's why it's so hard for us. We're not used to it. Look at Shalin--I imagine she's done this far more than we have, and she's doing fine." It wasn't fast, but all three of them felt the power behind every stride eastward the thoctar took.

Once the Qasali Stronghold disappeared behind the mountain's peak, the three dismounted the thoctar, and Shalin projected a portal for the beast to return through. "It should clean itself up," she said. "Those paws were covered in red. Anyway, we've lost them by now, so let's continue on."

"Sounds good," Eron replied, in the process of regaining his balance. "I just hope we never have to do that again, because that made me dizzy!" Josh and Shalin chuckled.

--------------

Music Track: Secret of the Arid Sands //Hiroki Kikuta
Album: Secret of Mana OSV


About half a mile later, the sky turned gray. These weren't rain clouds, though. A quick inspection from Eron showed there to be more mountains in the distance, and they were spitting out smoke. These volcanoes were active and so numerous that their smoke covered the entire sky in a layer of ash. A couple of miles from the mountain's base was a geographic feature that looked like someone clawed a hole all the way through Alara's crust, which was very thin in the region.

Acres of this place glowed red from oozing lava. Multiple volcanoes were oozing as the Knight of the Reliquary surveyed the area. There were rips and cracks in the earth's surface as far as the eye could see, and the only forested areas were primal jungles far wilder than Shalin had ever seen in her life. Tremors even rumbled all the way to their vantage point, further indicating that it was tectonically unstable. "Oh my god..." Josh finally gasped, terrified at how harsh the landscape was.

"You took the words right out of my mouth," Shalin said. "Well, she did say that the source of corruption did come from the east. We have to at least have a look, but I don't want to stay here longer than necessary."

"Neither do I."




A mere ten days after the Mending, a young knight of Valeron and a young ranger of Eos made a discovery that would change Alara forever.

Thanks to Spiderboy4 of High~Light Studios!

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #26 on: February 08, 2009, 09:23:41 PM »
I likey!

Great job Raikou, couldn't see any mistakes.  :)


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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #27 on: February 08, 2009, 10:55:24 PM »
C'est Magnifique! Can't find any problems. Well done. ;D ;D

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Whisperer: Sometimes there is a very good reason to fear the dark.


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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #28 on: February 12, 2009, 02:01:21 AM »


CHAPTER 3-1: The Savage Lands


Music Track: Secret of the Arid Sands //Hiroki Kikuta
Album: Secret of Mana OSV



The three travelers began to wonder what lived in this new land. It was hotter than the Topan savannahs, and the terrain was very unstable due to frequent seismic activity. "I see a couple of tents at the foot of the mountain," Josh said to his friends, "but they're pretty far off in the distance. Watch yourself; we have no clue what kind of things live around here."

About a half-mile down the jagged path, Eron gasped at a human corpse that had several large chunks of flesh ripped off it. "How horrible!" A split second later, something rammed into him from behind. By the time the others saw the ranger's assailant, he was already on the ground, the strength of its fist piercing right through his light armor. Josh drew his weapon and charged the scaly, lizardlike attacker, but it backfisted him with seemingly superhuman force. His heavy armor lessened the blow, but it still sent him flying.

"Restrain these infidels with Nature's shackles! Choking Vines!" Shalin cried. As the name of the spell would suggest, thick vines rose up from the ground and began constricting the viashino. Within seconds, the warrior snapped them in half. "Unbelievable!"

"Smite evildoers with the punishment they deserve! Chastise!" Eron chanted, finally able to get at least on his knees. The holy beam of light that shot out of the ranger's right hand eroded the lizard warrior's skin away as long as it was in contact with the blast. The creature passed out, and it seemed likely he would bleed to death from numerous second-degree and third-degree burns on his left side.

All three of them were panting from the sudden attack. "The hell was that thing?" Josh asked.

"I think this explains why we passed by a half-eaten human corpse," Shalin replied. "In nature, there is a concept called 'survival of the fittest,' and it can be applied to almost anything competitive. Hunting, matca...you name it. The creatures most fit for a task will win out against others trying to perform that same task, and the others will have to find something else they excel at. What we just witnessed is this principle in action, but on a life-and-death scale. And humans aren't at the top of the food chain."

"Then why would anyone live here?" Eron asked her.

"They're probably unaware of the Mending. For over a thousand years, no one had been able to enter or leave Naya. It's probably the same here. Though this place is ruled by Nature, it's the side I'd rather stay away from. This is not her caring side, but her ruthless side. Like Josh said, stay alert."

The temperature didn't drop any as they reached the foot of the mountain. At least there was civilization. Well, it was the closest thing they would get to civilization in this untamed land. When they came within twenty feet of the westernmost tent, they were greeted by clubs, obsidian swords, and other crude weapons. Eron pulled his bow out in self-defense. The muscular humans approached them and noticed that they had survived a recent battle. Both groups put their weapons away. "I don't know how you got in here," one of the armed men said, his outfit made of the skin and bones of dead animals. Josh, Eron, and Shalin had never seen people this physically fit in their lives. Not even the greatest knights in all of Bant were this muscular.

"You are strong if you can survive here," another said. "Follow me." The three warriors led the foreigners into the largest of the nomadic humans' tents. It was a crude setup, for certain; there wasn't even a tarp covering the ground. The bone stakes holding the tents down were driven right into the hard surface, and it definitely wasn't any cooler inside.

"Has there been any unusual activity in the area within the last couple of weeks?" Josh asked.

The spearman that approached him outside answered, "The tar pits to the east of the Mountain of the Mortal Dragon have been expanding, and are becoming a threat to not just our life, but goblins, humans, and viashino all over southern Jund. Our weapons do not work against the elementals there. Normally our shamans would be able to kill them without problems, but they have been becoming aggressive in the last couple of weeks--the time frame you mentioned. How did you know of this?"

"It isn't just happening to you. Bant and Naya, the lands we come from, have also been victimized by unusual problems. It's a bit of a long story."

"I am curious. Explain; I have nowhere to go."

"You are at least familiar with ancient Alaran history, right?"

"Alara? Jund is the only land I've ever known." Josh sighed, then recounted the legend of the Sundering and Mending of Alara to the hunters. "I see. But what does that have to do with you?"

"Because the five worlds have come back together, the worlds have to adapt to things they hadn't seen in over a thousand years. Shalin, would you mind telling them our story?"

"Sure," she agreed.

--------------

Music Track: Uneasy State //Dennis Martin
Album: The Legend of Dragoon OST


"What a story," the spearman said, his two companions nodding in agreement. "If this is true, then this means something past the Mountain of the Mortal Dragon its causing the elementals to become aggressive. But we cannot send anyone there. We just got word yesterday that the last four shamans we sent there all died."

"Send us, then," Eron stepped forward.

"You just met us, and you have nothing to gain from this dangerous mission. Why?"

"You're people in desperate need," the ranger continued. "Even if there's nothing we can do straight away, we can at least learn about our enemy."

"You may have been able to survive a viashino thrash, but you run into that sort of thing at least once every couple weeks around here. This is far more dangerous. Plus, we aren't in immediate danger. We send people into the tar pits almost every week, and few even return to say who died. Also, you didn't answer my question. Why do you help us?"

"I did answer your question. There are people dying here, and we're here to stop or at least slow it down. It's human nature to help those in need."

"You really come from a strange land, don't you? Because here, it's eat or be eaten. The countless half-eaten corpses you've seen along the way are all victims of viashino or dragons. Either way, you seem set on going, so I won't stop you. I just don't see why you would help someone you barely know." He sighed. "Anyway, it would be best to head off in the morning; it's already dark outside."

"This is dark?" Josh asked.

"The constant eruptions and flowing lava make it possible to hunt after dark, but it's just easier during daylight. Have a good sleep."

"Will do."

--------------

"Josh?" Shalin said late that night. "Josh?" She pushed the sleeping Knight of the Reliquary.

"What?" he yawned. "What did you wake me up for? I was just getting back to sleep, too."

"I can't sleep--it's hard to breathe the air in this place. Plus, something that guy said's been bothering me."

"Can you be a little quieter?" Josh whispered. "Eron's fast asleep and we don't want to wake him up.

"Sure. Anyway, it's not the cannibalism that bothers me here. It's what he said to Eron. Everyone seems to be out for their own self, and wouldn't even shed a tear if they saw one of their friends die in front of their faces."

"It's the way of life around here. It's all about living for the present; not seeing tomorrow is a realistic future for Jund's people. Also, most of the bodies we ran into were children anywhere from ten to thirteen years old. I bet that if it came down to it, people here would kill other humans just for a desperate meal. No wonder everyone's in such good shape."

"I really think there is no such thing as respect or society around here. Or even religion. What is the point of life here? Is it to die to something greater, like the Life Hunt suggests? Dozens of people throw their lives away during each and every Life Hunt."

"I've sometimes thought about what the world would be without bureaucracy or religion. Ironically, Jund is pretty close to what I've imagined. Without rules governing life or a purpose to life, I felt the world would become complete chaos. There has to be some order somewhere, or people end up dying like this."

Seconds later, the sound of a loud crash filled the air, followed by the crackling of flames. Shalin poked her head outside, only to find two human bodies almost completely incinerated and a goblin being eaten alive by a massive, red dragon. Five of the seven tents were on fire. She nudged Eron urgently. "Wake up! We have to get out of here, now!"




« Last Edit: February 14, 2009, 09:22:11 AM by RaikouRider »
A mere ten days after the Mending, a young knight of Valeron and a young ranger of Eos made a discovery that would change Alara forever.

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Re: [MTG] The Mending of Alara
« Reply #29 on: February 12, 2009, 02:08:41 AM »
Dragon, dragon WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. More please!

P.S. Couldn't find any problems.

When the darkness of the Abyss threatens the world, the Phoenix will rise amidst a whirlwind of fire and light.

Whisperer: Sometimes there is a very good reason to fear the dark.